5 Ways to Better Communicate with your Pre School Child
Updated: Jun 23
Talking to children is an important skill in everyday life. But unlike adults, communicating with children takes extra effort and awareness; you need to be in tune with what your child is saying and really listen to what they are saying to understand them and help them in their development and confidence.
Unfortunately, this is sometimes not the case for some parents when it comes to paying attention and being in the moment. Many parents don’t take the time to show they are listening by maintaining eye contact or even considering body language to understand what their children are saying and how they are feeling. The result is often a breakdown of communication that may leave your child feeling misunderstood and frustrated which can hurt the bond the parent and child have, as well as cause unwanted behaviour issues.
So, how can you improve communication with your child and enhance your parent-child relationship? The following is a guide to 5 effective communication skills that every parent should practice.
What Does Good Communication Involve?
Generally, communication takes two forms; nonverbal and verbal.
Non Verbal Communication
Under nonverbal communication, several things are involved, including facial expression, body language, hand gestures, eye contact, personal space and physical touch, etc.
On the other hand, verbal communication involves what we hear when someone speaks and includes diction (choice of words), pitch or tone of voice, dialect, etc.
Consider the following to improve communication with your preschooler:
Listen Actively and Be Present
Listening is a skill that many parents, could improve when communicating with their children. It is vital to get this right as a positive communication tool will make a child feel better understood when they see you actually listening to them. Instead of only listening with your ears, you should also involve your eyes and body to show the child that you’re following whatever they say and this will be reciprocated. In short, recognise your child's efforts and you will reap the rewards and have a healthy relationship with them.
For example, try getting down to the same eye level as your child when they are speaking. This helps your child to feel safer around you and more connected.
Additionally, encourage them to keep talking through gestures such as smiling and
nodding affirmatively to assure them that you are eager to hear what they have to say and that you care.
Listening intently to what your child is saying helps to improve their communication skills, and they become better storytellers by knowing the correct details to include in their narratives.
Speak Clearly and Use their Language
When talking to your child, try to face them and allow them to read your lips to fully understand what you are saying. Remember to keep your words short, uncomplicated and precise to avoid confusing them with too much information. The best way to ensure they understand what you are saying is to use their language.
For example, when responding to a question they have asked or reacting to a statement they made, use the words they have used to keep your child's attention. Phrasing your speech in their own words builds their confidence in conversation and improves their verbal skills. It’s a way to validate the child's body language, thoughts and ideas.
Furthermore, don’t be derogatory when speaking with your little one, instead, encourage them with positive words which will build their confidence. By being derogatory will hurt the child's feelings and will often instil fear in them for communicating with you. Instead, use carefully chosen and kind words to make them feel respected, even when correcting your child's behaviour. Children learn about positive relationships where there's mutual respect and communication styles.
Acknowledge Emotions and Feelings
Watch out for feelings and emotions when your child is talking to you, and try to react suitably by showing empathy. You can pick these up from the nature of their voice, body language, gestures, and even facial expressions. As an example, when your child’s voice cracks when they are talking or stammers uncharacteristically, chances are they are angry, hurt, or upset.
The best way to react to this is to pull them in for a hug and assure them everything will be fine as you gently talk to them to seek further information. Acknowledging your child’s emotions shows your sensitivity to them and demonstrates how much you care. Your child will likely pick up this kind gesture from you and practice it while communicating with others as well as be open and honest with how they are feeling or instances that happen in their childhood.
Put Yourself in Your Child’s Shoes
Try to understand the situation your child is talking about from their point of view and consider their age. As adults, we sometimes expect our young ones to understand situations as a grown-up would without considering that they are still learning and their brains are still developing. For example, if your child breaks down crying because you have to go to work and leave them, you might easily get upset as a parent.
Try to understand that, in their mind, they are being separated from you and this makes them feel nervous and they are only expressing their fear of not being with you. This is often normal in children and can come up at any time in their life if things or routines are changing. The best way you can respond to this is to be kind, hug them and explain what is happening and when you will be back. Let them know that who they are with will look after them and it is only a short time that you will be away from them. Talk to them about what they will be doing and encourage them to enjoy it. Tell them what you are doing, for example, going to work and what you will be doing whilst you are away from them. This assures them and will give them the confidence they need that they may not be with you, however, you are still thinking about them and will be back to collect them later. However, watch out for intentional and desperate pleas for attention that children can develop as they grow.
Practice What You Preach
Parents are a child’s first reference point when they come into this world and start to develop. They are likely to do and say what they see from you. As such, consider setting the right example. Take care to act precisely as you said when communicating with them and others around you so you don’t expect something from them that you are not demonstrating yourself.
For example, don’t make promises to your preschooler that you can’t or don’t plan to keep, however small. Keeping promises helps maintain trust between you and teaches them that they can rely on you. Sometimes, parents assume children will forget promises made, but the results are detrimental to the bond you share when they remember a broken promise.
Communication between parents and children has a huge impact on the bond that is formed and will determine their relationship. A bond can easily be strengthened or weakened by the nature of communication between them. By learning how to communicate with your child, you will ensure they trust and look up to you while also building their confidence during a conversation and as they grow.
The guide above provides important skills you can adopt to ensure that you are communicating better and more effectively with your little one. They are a great starting point for any parent with a new baby or toddler or if they are having challenges with their child.
The Flowers Day Nursery promote positive non-verbal and verbal communication in everything the team and the children do when in the setting as we understand the importance it has in a child's development.
We offer flexible childcare Monday to Friday between 8 am and 6 pm throughout the year for 6-month-olds through to preschool age. We offer payment through most childcare vouchers and the Welsh government schemes.
If you are looking for a childcare setting in Swansea, contact us today at 01792 46 44 45 to find out about us and arrange a time when you can come in and meet our team and learn about what we do.